Friday Fictioneers: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings… in Honor.

friday-fictioneersJoin us each week for the best in writing and fellowship. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields herds this merry group of Kool cats, with a weekly photo prompt and a reminder to: play nice, be respectful, and do your best work. Flash fiction at its best! Write a 100-word story with a beginning, middle and end. This week’s photo is provided by Jennifer Pendergast. Find the other other stories and more details on Addicted to Purple.

Note: So as not to impact the reading, I’ve included a note at the end…


(100 words, exactly)

In Honor

And on you will travel, the voice murmured.

Towards the light, into the light, let there be light!

The voice– soft as the late spring breeze it came on, pulled her gently, whispered in her ear.

“I have a dream!”  His voice rang with conviction and pride.

Listen to him; take his hand, it urges.

You have lived your dream, and followed a mighty path. The journey is not over; the path has simply taken another turn.

The breeze fluttered across her eyes, her sacred lips and heart, down to her feet.

On you will travel, blessed woman of words. 

*    *   *


“Look where we’ve all come from … coming out of darkness, moving toward the light,” she once said. “It is a long journey, but a sweet one, bittersweet.”  Maya Angelou

It’s true: we come out of the darkness of our mother’s wombs and work towards the light, for the rest of our days. We each come out of our own dark places, and work towards light. It is all part of the journey.  Maya Angelou was a source of enormous inspiration to me, from the day I read I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, my senior year of high school, and she will continue to be, until I too reach the light. Her splendid words, her grace and dignity– in the face of so many life experiences, and her enormous wisdom and compassion. To listen to, and watch (because, when she spoke, you could barely take your eyes off her) Maya Angelou recite a poem, or a reading, or a thought– was to stand in the light.

This morning, when I read that she had died, I wept. I truly, and fully wept. When I saw the prompt for this week, the first two line of this story came to me… immediately.   There are so many quotes I have borrowed from this wise woman, but the one I try to remember, and use the most: “It’s not about you.”

זיכרונה לברכה
zikhronah livrakha, May her memory be a blessing.            Maya Angelou, April 4, 1928- May 28, 2014

And so, it is.

Take a moment and listen to Maya Angelou recite her incredible poem, Phenomenal Woman. (Courtesy of

*     *     *

If you enjoyed this post, please hit like and then leave a comment; I love to hear what readers have to say.  Check out Tales From the Motherland’s Facebook page (my goal is 400 likes this year), and Twitter, where I struggle to keep it brief.

© 2014 Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

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About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
This entry was posted in Activist, Aging, Awareness, Courage, Daily Observations, Death, Death of parent, Fiction, Flash fiction, Friday Fictioneers, Honest observations on many things, Life, Love, Mothers, Musings, My world, Tales From the Motherland, Women, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

67 Responses to Friday Fictioneers: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings… in Honor.

  1. jgroeber says:

    Oh, thank you for writing this. What a beautiful blessing. I first heard her when I was maybe 23 years old in a shamefully empty school auditorium. She was like a tree or a great bird or something so awesome that even in half a lifetime I can’t find the words.


  2. 1EarthUnited says:

    Thank you Maya Angelou, an inspirational spirit and person.


  3. Dawn this is a lovely tribute not just to Maya Angelou, but Martin Luther King. Bravo!


  4. wmqcolby says:

    Maya was one of the best. I didn’t know she died today. I haven’t been to work yet (I work in TV news). The influence definitely had its effect on your writing. A wonderful tribute to her. You did her justice.


  5. Beautiful post and tribute. You need to change ”dies” to ”died”


  6. Jennie Saia says:

    Dawn, I’m so glad you found her. Your first 100 words did lift me up, and the rest was also touching. I didn’t ever “find” Maya, but her passing and all the tributes my friends are making to her have sent me to read her words.


    • Oh Jennie… yes, read Maya! Try I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, possibly one of the most brilliant memoirs in literature. Poetry. She was in fact an incredible poet, and there are so many works out there… I never read anything I didn’t like, but some of her earlier work has so much fire and passion. She published her first book when she was 41. She was a treasure.


  7. Such a beautiful tribute, thank you.


  8. Dawn, That was a beautiful tribute to Maya Angelou. I’ve heard her on TV but never in person. I hadn’t heard about her death until I read this. That was the world’s lose. —Susan


  9. “The path has simply taken another turn.” Yes it has. And I bet she’s partying up a storm with Dr. King. Beautifully written. I have always wanted to read I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. No more excuses. I only knew Maya Angelou through her appearances on the Oprah show, and consider myself lucky to have seen her. Thank you.


  10. Sandra says:

    Very moving. I’ll investigate further when I’ve a solid internet connection again. Well done.


  11. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Dawn,

    I was reading your piece aloud as I often do, to hear the rhythm and flow and could not finish because I was crying. How utterly beautiful and what a tribute to Ms. Angelou. Phenomenal work. Thank you.




  12. Dear Dawn,

    And I rise…beautiful tribute to stunning personality. The world is a bleaker place without her. Your piece brought tears to my eyes. I will have to come back and read this again. To say more would take away from what you’ve written. Thank you.




  13. Mike Lince says:

    Maya Angelou was indeed a voice of our lifetime. Her soft voice projected a power that could not be denied. I think her own words best characterize her spirit. ‘Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.’ It is a tribute to her vision and influence that her portrait will be hung in the National Gallery today in her honor. She was not only a great American, she was a great citizen of the world. Your post is a fitting tribute. Thank you. – Mike


  14. Lovely tribute to an icon of our lifetimes. Thanks for sharing this.


  15. Cathy Ulrich says:

    Maya Angelou – a treasure to the world. Thank you for the beautiful tribute, Dawn.


  16. BrainRants says:

    Kinda sucks not having Maya Angelou anymore… *ironic understatement*


  17. Jan Brown says:

    Dawn, what a lovely tribute! And thank you for including the recording of Phrnomenal Woman–a real treat.


  18. storydivamg says:

    I miss her more than any other person I’ve never met in person. I love her words and listened to them right up until her dying day–I even received the last Facebook message she posted four days before her death.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this beautiful tribute. She lives on.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail


  19. pattisj says:

    Sweet memorial for another woman of words.


  20. I feel and share your love for Maya Angelou, dear Dawn. Thanks for this!


  21. MM Jaye says:

    A much needed tribute! Thank you for covering this in such an evocative way, Dawn!

    Greetings from Greece!
    Maria (MM Jaye)


    • Thanks Maria, and greetings from Bellingham, WA! Welcome to Tales From the Motherland, as well as Friday Fictioneers! I appreciate you taking the time to read my story and comment. As soon as I saw the news, and then the photo, I knew where I was going. I’m glad others are enjoying it.


  22. DCTdesigns says:

    Dawn what a tribute to a divine spirit “a Blessing” as she so reminded. Oh and the idea of MLK coming for her brilliant!


    • Thanks Dana. She and MLK were very close friends (and he was killed on her birthday), it just flowed that direction. There are those weeks when the story just organically makes its way onto the page; this was one of those weeks. I appreciate your wonderful feedback; thanks.


  23. elmowrites says:

    “The path has just taken another turn.” I read this piece (poem? I couldn’t decide, but I don’t think it matters) and I was struck by so many beautiful lines, each one standing out in my mind. The lines were almost so powerful they wouldn’t let me read the piece as a whole. I had to go around again. And again.
    The lines were so powerful, that “I have a dream” felt almost like a weak point. Not because it is weak, or out of place, but because it is so well-known. You know how actors playing Hamlet fear the “To be or not to be” speech? It was like that.
    I don’t know if this comment is making any sense, Dawn, so I will finish with a single word, to leave you in no doubt of my opinion: Stunning.



    • Jen, your comment makes perfect sense and I can absolutely see your point. When I read it back, I stumble a little over that line too… that said, my intention was to connect the two people. They were good friends, and he was an important person– and the Civil Rights Movement, was an important time, in her life. The story came to me as quickly as typing this response to you. As I typed, the image of him welcoming her to a higher place came to me too, and those words ended up on the page.

      I really appreciate feedback like this, Jen. It makes me think more about the work, and the writing I do. It challenges me to push it. If I were rewriting it, maybe I’d include that and maybe I wouldn’t, but I really appreciate your candor. Thanks for taking the time. Your thoughts mean a lot to me. Dawn


  24. K.Z. says:

    Dawn, what a sweet tribute to a truly beautiful person, a very inspiring woman.


  25. elappleby says:

    As KZ says (but I was already intending to say it before I saw her comment, so am sticking to my guns!), a very sweet tribute. 🙂


    • Thanks; I appreciate both of you taking the time. Of course, this is a gun-free zone, so you’ll have to figure out another way of making your point. “Sweet” is not entirely what I was going for… Maya Angelou seemed so many things, but not sweet. However, I love the sentiment and how can I say no to a gun-toting sweet? 😉


  26. Dee says:

    Dear Dawn
    I’m with Doug and Rochelle.
    Reading your piece out loud gives me a picture of them both together; both fighters without being violent, both superb orators without being well educated, both life changers in their own way. The world is a poorer place since their passing.
    Superbly written, (I’m still a bit tearful)


  27. A wonderful dedication Dawn.


  28. A wonderful tribute.. and yes as an author she will never die.. she will continue to live in her words.. I still have to read her .. so for me all remains…


  29. maru clavier says:

    Powerful feeling of crossing a threshold in your story.
    Let’s celebrate Maya Angelou, her long and full life.



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